Managing the explosion of Europe’s online travel market requires flexible systems that incorporate niche offers with legacy systems. DAFNE’s Europe-wide infrastructure enables spontaneous cooperation among online applications on different networks.
A successor to the IST project FETISH, the main thrust of the recently completely DAFNE project, also funded by the European Commission’s IST programme, is to enhance the effects of existing FETISH network technology and commercially exploit the platform in Europe’s online travel market, which already accounts for one-fourth of all revenue generated over the Internet.
According to project manager Andrea Nicolai, sharing a critical mass of European resources and data in a network across a wide geographic reach will create a competitive advantage in the travel service provider’s market. "By using a service-oriented architecture, DAFNE gives to service providers a high-level, open architecture model that supports the production of reliable and platform-independent value-added services," he says. Services offered from DAFNE include: user terminal, positioning, service broker, and offer agents, a direct and reverse auctioning manager, user profiling, intelligent push of information, a reservation engine, maps, Geographic Information Services, an itinerary generator, fidelity programs, and payment systems.
Nicolai points out that the interoperability achieved by this network architecture provides the exchange of services/resources between the tourism players, as well as effective customisation. Players can also package time-to-market products at a reasonable price, which is cost effective when compared to other ICT investments needed in order to be competitive in the marketplace. "As a technological achievement, the trials demonstrate very good market opportunity, viability, and economic advantages," Nicolai says.
Trials worked well
For the trial evaluation, consortium member Kataweb built a content syndication solution based on FETISH/DAFNE technology into the Viaggiamo.it portal.
According to Nicolai, the results demonstrated the creation of a new distribution channel in the B2B market for info-service providers to reach new customers with a content/service syndication solution and to add strategic value to customers’ websites with a lightweight and standardised system integration effort.
"The Kataweb trial experience showed that the adoption of the FETISH technology introduces significant reduction of time and costs for the service/content provider, and that customers can easily add strategic value to their portals and websites with one or more of the services available in the FADA [FETISH Advanced Directory Architecture] network, integrating them with a unique system integration effort," he says.
These results bode well for SMEs in Europe’s tourist industry, which - in a market increasingly dominated by global, corporate distributors - tend to be overlooked by these large distributors; it enables them to compete with the big players by lowering the entry point to market and making it easier to remain there.
The FETISH/DAFNE technology has also been deployed for trials in Barcelona’s local administration to link offices to manage the service provided on the CAT365 portal. CAT365 groups all the major administration houses within a single portal under the umbrella of the local government of Catalonia, in order to integrate information via wireless applications within the local government information system and citizens.
Nicolai says the successful CAT 365 experience also demonstrates how the interest is high for exporting FETISH technology to the telecom and mobile sectors, for example. Additionally, he notes several projects in different European Commission initiatives within its Information Society Directorate-General (Eumedis, IST), as well as national ones, are evaluating the use of FETISH network technology to achieve their goals. "The FETISH network technology is the building block of the Digital Business Ecosystem project under the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme for research starting 1 November 2003. IBM, INTEL, SUN, London School of Economics, T6, and several universities and research centres have committed to use FETISH network technology as the founding open source technology of the project," he says, adding that the services will be deployed in many regional catalysts in Europe (Tampere, Aragon and Midlands) in order to enable the local SMEs to take advantage of it.
Via Genova 30
Source: Based on information from DAFNE
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